It is that time of year again-everyone is excited for the upcoming holidays. Halloween just passed, up next is Thanksgiving, and then there is Christmas. (or whichever religious/nonreligious holiday you follow)
Everyone is excited about decorating, having debates about when to put up the Christmas tree, if it's too early for Christmas songs blaring throughout the day and considering what they are going to get their loved ones for presents.
Holidays are supposed to be a time of togetherness, great food, conversation, and relaxation.
Holidays aren't so cheerful for all us. Don't get me wrong, I love holidays, I really do but lets face it-I have more to worry about in the holiday season other than what's listed above.
As a special needs mom, I have a lot to consider. If you haven't been following us so far, my son is now 6, he is nonverbal, has autism and a lot of sensory issues.
Sensory issues can be a show stopper. There are lots of different and new smells, decorating can be too overwhelming-making the environment too busy, there is usually a lot of family so the noise levels shoot through the roof. Holidays can be a sensory meltdown counting down to detonation.
My son is also a wandered. He has no sense of danger. He thinks running in the road is ok, that sharp knives look like a cool toy, the steam coming off boiling water is some sort of magic that he must touch. He is also an over-stuffer. Choking is always something to be watched for.
I'm not sure everyone thinks of these things. How hard holidays can be for us special needs families. How stressed we can be at a time of celebration. All the preparing we do, whether its pictures or social stories, making sure the iPad is charged and we have the favorite snack and movie. How we scope out potential sensory nightmares.
Watching him is what I do at parties. Making sure he doesn't do this or doesn't get into that or he just took off, making sure he isn't getting too far. If he got lost, he couldn't yell for help.
Plus we have the...
Is he actually going to eat? Will he even participate in opening gifts? Will he be able to handle the situation to be social? At least some parallel play?
The...I hope he doesn't break any of the decorations while we are here...
It can be overwhelming for us, as parents too.
(*I am in no way speaking for us as a community but I'm sure I can relate to a lot of you*)
What if your gift to me was, to let me relax, enjoy the conversation, eat the great food while its hot?
What if everyone took turns helping, being the eyes in the back of my head, making sure he was ok while I ate. Taking him to a quiet place when he is starting to show signs of impending sensory meltdown.
That, my friends and family is a holiday I think everyone could enjoy.
I ask you to please just consider it from our perspective. All we want is acceptance and even though our pride is sometimes too big for our own good...a little help.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Momma Day Dream